Two Maryland Farm Bureau members petitioned Congress for prompt passage of the 2023 Farm Bill during the American Farm Bureau’s Advocacy Fly-In in Washington DC last week. Joining 150 farmers from across the country were Karl Shlagel of Waldorf and Emmy Dallam of Bel Air.
“It’s crucial that lawmakers hear directly from the people who are affected by farm policy,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “America’s farmers and ranchers are dedicated to growing the food, fuel and fiber families across the nation rely on. We know how important the farm bill is to maintaining a secure and sustainable food supply. I’m confident the personal stories shared by our members will help inspire lawmakers to support and swiftly pass a new farm bill.”
Attendees were informed there are 260 members – more than half of Congress – who have never worked on a farm bill, making personal stories of impact even more important. Farm Bureau members also discussed other pressing issues facing agriculture, including the need for Congress to address agricultural labor reform.
Agriculture Committee leaders spoke before the group fanned out across Capitol Hill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Penn.) and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.) addressed the group. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott (D-Ga.) sent a video message. They discussed the challenges they’ll face in getting the farm bill passed this year and urged attendees to speak with as many elected leaders as they can, both in Washington and when members of Congress return home. They stressed the value of personal connections and stories of direct impact, including through the Advocacy Fly-In.
Shlagel and Dallam visited the offices of their Maryland representative and both Maryland senators to tell their farm story and relay the urgency of passing a farm bill this year. They stressed the importance of the farm bill safety net and conservation programs to Maryland agriculture and talked about the need for a reliable agricultural workforce.